Oil prices mixed as US reports drop in crude stocks
Oil prices were narrowly mixed on Wednesday as official data showed falling crude inventories in the United States -- the world's biggest energy consuming nation.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, added nine cents to 82.64 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for September delivery fell 24 cents to 82.44 dollars late London trade.
The US Department of Energy said American crude stockpiles fell 2.8 million barrels last week, double the amount forecast by analysts.
"Most of the drop in crude stocks is likely to reflect hurricane-related disruptions," said Christophe Barret, oil analyst at the investment arm of French bank Credit Agricole.
Serene Lim, an energy expert with Australian bank ANZ, said crude prices would remain above 82 dollars in the short term owing to the hurricane season, which tends to disrupt production at oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil prices breached 82 dollars on Tuesday for the first time since May despite weak US economic data. Further official data released Wednesday was mixed.
The US economy created more private jobs than expected in July but hiring has not been rapid enough to ease a severe jobless rate, payrolls firm ADP said on Wednesday.
Some 42,000 private-sector jobs were created following a revised June number of 19,000, ADP said ahead of a key government report Friday that is expected to show US unemployment, already at 9.5 percent, ticking up further.
© 2010 AFP